I’m conflicted. On one hand, I want to say that everyone has the right to do whatever they want with their body. Even things that destroy your health, if it makes you happy, then I want to be okay with it.
But on the other hand, I don’t want to support that notion when you’re basically the poster child of health and wellness because of your chosen profession.
WeightAn overwhelming number of nurses are overweight, obese, and even morbidly obese. Hospitals have noticed, and have started creating incentives for their employees to be healthier. I've seen discounted gym membership offers, healthy food choices in the cafeteria, even rewards through insurance programs like flexible spending account bonuses for meeting "health achievements."
Still, I would say that nurses reflect the average population when it comes to weight, and are perhaps even slightly worse. Being obese is linked to nearly every medical condition you can imagine, and has been proven time and time again to be pretty much the worst thing you can do for your overall health.
I know it’s your right to eat big macs and cake by the pound, but a big part of your job is preaching healthy lifestyles to people. And if you don’t practice what you preach, and are hardly healthier than your patients, they probably won’t want to listen to a word you have to say.
SmokingThis isn't the 50s, it's nearly 2016. We've known about the dangers of smoking for over half a century, and yet people still continue to light up cancer sticks like it's nothing.
When patients come in and are identified as smokers, we offer them education on why quitting is a huge priority. Doctors and nurses both spend time dedicated to teaching smoking cessation. It’s so hypocritical when you’re telling your patient they shouldn’t smoke because it’s literally killing them, and then go out for a 5 minute smoke break right after you leave the room.
Smoking while at work is even worse. Many people, myself included, are very sensitive to the smell of smoke. If I was a patient and you’ve just gotten back from a smoke break and walk into my room, I can guarantee I’m going to smell it.
That means you’re basically forcing me to smell your cigarette smoke. God forbid your patients have asthma.
DrugsThis one is the worst. Nurses who smoke weed, take benzos by the handful, and/or pop pain pills are fucking crazy. Not only is it incredibly stupid and risky for you to put your job and your license on the line, but you are a potential danger to your patients.
It’s a gamble trying to guess how long these drugs will stay in your system. There’s a fairly good chance that you could do this stuff the night before you work and still have some in you when you clock in. And your odds of getting caught are high.
Lots of hospitals always drug test if you ever have an accident at work. This includes everything from accidental needle sticks to simply tripping and falling in a hallway. If you take a piss test and fail, you’re screwed.
Some nurses have legitimate prescriptions for drugs like benzos or narcotics. If you aren’t employed or working you could take them, but when you come to work and take them, then it becomes a problem… not to mention, illegal.
I understand that we’re all human, and I don’t expect nurses to be saints in their private lives. But when I see nurses leading lives that are the antithesis of good health it makes me roll my eyes. The worst thing to see is when they knowingly do things that can potentially put their patients at risk of harm.
I can only imagine that patients feel the same way.